^Q TAI GROUP.
word may have different tones in different languages. Moreover, in the on« word, the
tones of which I have been able to ascertain, they differ from those in use in Khfimti and
Shan. This is the word md} which, when it means 6 a horse', has in Ahom a long tone,
and in JChamti an abrupt tone, while ma, a dog, has in Ahom an abrupt tone, but in
Khamti and Shan a rising inflection.
Articles*—There does not seem to be any word which performs the function of a
definite article. Probably a demonstrative pronoun can be used when required. For the
indefinite article the numeral Ung, one, is employed. Thus, Icm-pM-lang, person male
one, a man, In Khamti, a is prefixed to Ung in this sense, but this does not appear to be
the case in Ahom. The Interrogative-Indefinite Pronoun phrau is used to mean' a
nouns,—Gender.—Ahom words wben performing the functions of nouns have no
gender. When, in the case of living creatures, it is required to distinguish sex, this is
done by compounding the main word with another word meaning e male' or * female'.
The words most commonly used with human beings arej?A0 for the masculine, and ml for
the feminine. Thus, te, a person; kun-phu, person male, man; kun-mls person female,
woman, Other words used are Uk, for the masculine, and &ung for the feminine. Ex-
amples are Ma, slave ; kha-lik, a male servant, kha-nmg» a female servant. With nouns
of relationship man and fiung are used. Thus, po or po-mdn} a father; ndng, a younger
brother or sister; ndng-mdn, a younger brother; ndng-nmig or nmg~nting, a younger
sister; luk, a child; Ink-man, a son; fak-fifing, a daughter. In words like po-mdn
instead of po, the man is said to gire the idea of respect.
In the case of irrational animals thuk indicates the male sexs and me the female.
ma-thukt horse mfrme, mare.
ma-tkuk, dog ma~me9 bitch.
hu-thukj bull hu->me, cow.
j>e-ngd-thukt he-goat pe-ngd~met she-goat.
tu-ngl-tliuk> male deer tu-ngl-me, female deer.
In other Tai languages, the followuig words are used to indicate gender:—
Male human beings .......
Female ditto .......
Male irrational animals ......
Female ditto .......
In some instances in Ahom, as in other Tai languages, difference of gender is
expressed by the use of different words, Thus po, father; me, mother.
Number.—Usually the idea of plurality is left to be inferred from the nature of the
sentence. If, however, it is necessary to express it, this is generally done by preSxing the
word U«#, which is also used as the plural of the third personal pronoun, meaning * they'.